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View Full Version : What are your ideas on flat screen TVs? Models and reasons please.



Jim O'Dell
04-11-2012, 11:40 PM
Well, it looks like the LOML is going to allow me to use some of the IRS return for a new TV. I had been totally against Plasma units from the negative hype that has permeated TV talk the past few years. But research shows that the image burn in and low life issues have been dealt with. LCD with LED back lighting is what I really thought I wanted. But now I don't know. I've been looking at the Sony KDL-xxHX729 and Samsung UNDxxD7000 series in the LCD/LED category, and in the Plasma, the Samsung PxxD7000 and Panasonic TC-PxxST30 series. Of course I want the biggest I can get for the price range I'm willing to spend. I'd like to keep it around 1500. Could stretch a little if it gets me a bigger unit. Pricing seems to be up considerably since Christmas time, even late January. With new models being introduced, I thought I'd see some price reductions, but nothing showing yet.
I'm open to suggestions, even other brands. I don't care about the sound as I will be using a surround sound system with it and the built in speakers won't be used at all. But I'm not keen on LG products, and the reported problems with TV's burning up in the last year didn't sway my opinion any. Prefer to stay with major brands for ease of repair. The last two tube TV's I've purchased have been Sony, and have lasted great. Two in about 32 years, with the last one still working great. But it's time to move onward and upward.
Thanks for any insight you can offer. Jim.

Brian Ashton
04-12-2012, 5:12 AM
Just wrapped up my shopping for a new 40" flat screen. The top two brands I was looking at were samsung and panasonic. Samsung appears to rate at the top with independent review sites and panasonic was around third. I was actually going for a panasonic though because they're the last to offer analogue out (if you have an older stereo that is important). Ended up buying a sony bravia instead. It's one of the newer smart tvs and I liked the extras that its capable of. And as smart tvs go it is one of the cheaper ones in that size range but is still good quality. So far the only regret is letting it do an automatic update over the internet. Wrecked all me settings and wouldn't retain any that I tried to redo. Had to do a factory reset and turned off auto up date. Other than that it's been really good. It's not as good as Itunes for renting movies through - sony's selection isn't as good. But it's more convenient, no need to hook the computer to it just go online... I plan to get a skype camera for it also that will make things great for talking to family back in North America and England. I'll have the luxury of lounging on the couch as I yap away.

Ron Natalie
04-12-2012, 6:59 AM
I've got three flat screens, a 47" Philips and a 52" Sony (both from Sams club) and an older 47" Westinghouse (a woot deal).

I think you'll find that any flat panel will be a large improvement on your old tube TV's (they're certainly lighter). The prices continue to drop. Unlike Brian, I've not had any problems with auto updates on my Bravia.
I rarely use the network features of the TV set. I'm waiting for the software update that actually lets you get at the HD parts of YouTube.

Joe Pelonio
04-12-2012, 8:53 AM
We recently got a 46" Westinghouse LED from Sam's and it was only $525. We did add a sound system which was a
big improvement but we have been really happy with the picture. We went in considering the smaller 40" Samsung but this one had a much sharper picture. The LED version uses less electricity than the LCD or plasma. I can't say how it will hold up
but the reviews seemed to be OK.

Larry Browning
04-12-2012, 9:07 AM
I would stay away from Sony. My understanding is that they are in quite a bit of financial trouble and may not be around for much longer. They have fallen behind on technology because of it. (I heard this on NPR a few weeks ago) I have never been a fan anyway due to my perception of them being over priced. Samsung is starting to get that way to a certain extent, but I think their quality justifies the higher pricing. Plus, it is sometimes possible to find good deals on their products.
I am a big fan of the internet "apps" available now such as Netflix and Vudu. However, I would NOT get a TV or Bluray player with that built into it. They make many standalone media player devices, such as the Roku, and the one I have, the Boxee Box. The problem I have always seen with the built in stuff is that the TV is a TV first and the internet apps are an add on. Every manufacturer continually puts out new devices and drops support for older ones. You will get firmware updates for only a year or 2(at most) on that "smart TV", while the media player will get more frequent and better updates.

Also, what is the problem with LG? My research showed that LG was probably the best value overall in price and performance. (I did mine about 18 mos ago, so I suppose things could have changed) They always beat the Sony and were right up there with Samsung. I had one all picked out and then the Samsung went on sale and I was able to get a 55" for only a little more the the 47" LG.

Bob Lloyd
04-12-2012, 9:23 AM
I got the Panasonic Viera after recommendations. Love it.

Bill Huber
04-12-2012, 9:24 AM
That is one of those really hard questions, there are so many different ones out there and it is kind of like asking which is better Ford or Chevy.

I have a 50" LG Plasma and have had it for about 4 or 5 years, no problems and the picture is awesome. When I went to get a new TV I looked at all the ones at Best Buy and Frys, at the time I picked the one that had the best pictures and color.

The next question you have is do you really need 1080p? I found that 1080p was an over kill for me. I don't have a blue-ray and the U-verse signal is only 720 so I just could not see getting a 1080p and that saved me some money.

Jeff Monson
04-12-2012, 9:50 AM
That is one of those really hard questions, there are so many different ones out there and it is kind of like asking which is better Ford or Chevy.


That is well put, I dont think there is really any "bad" flat screen out there, especially when you take into cosideration the price. My oldest flat screen (and probably still my favorite) is a 42" Samsung plasma, it is going on 4 years old and still has the same picture quality the day I brought it home. I have a 32" LED Sony I got on clearance in my shop, we have 4 others in various sizes through out the house, they range from 2 Vizio's to 1 Panasonic and 1 other Samsung. The picture quality is great on all of them, some channels are noticably lower quality than others is what I notice the most.

Jim Matthews
04-12-2012, 9:58 AM
+1 on the Viera.

I purchased mine through Amazon when my Sony failed, and replacement parts cost more than the Panasonic!
I opted for white-glove service, as this insured the set until the first time it was turned on.

Choose the widest contrast ratio, that makes a tremendous difference in picture quality.

One thing not mentioned in any of the specs is the tremendous amount of waste heat these generate.
Make sure your viewing room can be ventilated, in Summer.

Paul McGaha
04-12-2012, 10:37 AM
Our family have been buying Samsung LCD's. Great picture and seem to be lasting ok.

The last couple were bought at Best Buy, We probably look first at Costco as my wife really likes that store.

PHM

PS-Like the new picture in your avatar Jim. Beautiful dog.

Steve Meliza
04-12-2012, 12:02 PM
I've got a pair of Sony 32" LCD TV's from the XBR line, both 1080p. The older one was $900 and the one I got a year later is $600 because despite having the exact same model number, they stripped out a lot of features that most people won't use. The older one was purchased for dual use as a computer monitor hence the need for 1080P in a 32" TV because my nose was practically pressed against the screen. The second one I got the same model just because I knew I liked the TV and SWMBO didn't want anything bigger than 32" in her living room (1200 sq ft houses have small rooms), the high DPI is certainly not needed at our viewing distance for that TV. I think anything over ~40" you really should get 1080P though because even if you don't have Blu-ray you some day will have it or something better so you may as well get a little future proofing in your purchase.

My in-laws recently purchased a 44" Sony 1080P from the normal KDL line and it looks ok, but since they don't have Blu-ray yet it's hard for me to say anything except it seems to look and work just fine which is something you can say about almost any modern TV set.

I can agree with getting Netflix on a device other than your TV or Blu-ray player unless it is a Playstation3 which is excellent at both tasks even if you never play a game on it. We purchased a Sony Blu-ray player with Netflix built in and the updates stopped after about a year, but the frequent playback issues continue and reviews indicate I am not alone. It's bad enough at times that I've considered replacing the unit or buying a $100 Apple TV box just for the Netflix.

I can recommend buying from Best Buy. That first 32" Sony that I bought for $900 had a pixel stuck on red dead center of the screen. If it had not been in the center of the screen and I never sat closer than 3' away it wouldn't have been an issue due to the tiny size of pixels on a 32" 1080P TV, but it was a no-go as a part time computer monitor. The next day I returned it to Best Buy and explained the problem. Without delay or a single bit of hassle they sent me home with a new unit. Some internet stores are a bit cheaper, but they require 2 or 3 or more dead pixels before they'll replace it.

Larry Browning
04-12-2012, 12:24 PM
Also, I purchased my new TV thru a small local TV/electronics store rather than online or a large retailer. The staff/owner was very knowledgeable and they bent over backwards trying to please me. The store I went to has a price match policy for Best Buy and other local stores, so price was not an issue. I would also strongly suggest you find a similar store. I think you will be surprised about the level of service and price you will find there.
Also, I found that I could do my own setup with very little hassle. It used to be that in order to get things proper you needed an expert to hook it up and get the picture adjusted for your situation. But it is no longer that way. They pretty much work well right out of the box. Of course, you can fiddle with it as much as you want, but it is not necessary anymore.

BTW, mine came with the high refresh rate (240hz). I ended up setting it back to 60hz. It caused what I called the "soap opera" effect, where everything had a cheap video tape look to it, especially in movies. The picture was really sharp, but everything had this fake plastic look to it. I was about to return the whole TV, but then I learned that I could reduce the refresh rate and that fixed it!

Charles Wiggins
04-12-2012, 12:41 PM
We bought a refurbished Vizio VF551XVT 55" TruLED HDTV from Tiger Direct about 18 months ago and I've been very happy with it. For us, it was the most bang for the buck. Major considerations were: good reviews, size vs. price, that it was a backlit LED, and the number and types of inputs to attached game systems and computers. We don't have any sort of broadcast TV, so we bought a Playstation 3 to play DVDs & Blu Rays, and run Netflix through. I do about 98% of my watching on Netflix. The number of ports was really important because at one point we had the Playstation, an Xbox, a Gamecube, a PC, and a laptop connected to it and nothing had to get unplugged to plug something else in. We could just switch between inputs with the remote.

Joe Angrisani
04-12-2012, 12:41 PM
Whatever you do, BUY WITH YOUR EYES. Don't buy by spec. All that matters in the end is the picture AS YOU SEE IT.

And by all means, if you find you like the look of a 60hz picture over a 240hz picture, don't waste your money the way Larry did. He probably spent close to twice as much for a 240hz unit, only to "throw away" the extra money.

Ben Hatcher
04-12-2012, 1:02 PM
I bought a Sharp LC70LE632U for $2000 last Black Friday. It has LED back lighting and produces a generally even brightness/darkness over the entire screen. Edge lit screens tend to be brighter on the edges. It has wi-fi built in, which is pretty nice, though I tend to use my PS3 for streaming Netflix for some reason even though the TV has the netflix app built in. It works well with the new Sony receiver I got at the same time and the Aquos link will turn the tv speakers off if the receiver is on. Sound is decent for a flat screen and everything looks great on that 70" screen.

The main reason I chose this over a plasma, besides the size, was energy usage. If I recall, plasmas use 2-3x the electricity that the LED/LCD tvs use.

Jim O'Dell
04-12-2012, 2:01 PM
Thanks for the great info so far. Brian, which model Sony did you get?
Larry, the problem with LG, besides the reports of units burning up in the last 6-8 months, is my perception of the company. If my information is correct, they used to be Goldstar. I never heard of a single piece of adequate equipment that they made. Now, companies change, sometimes for the better and they may be one of them. But problems stick with me for a long time. Like I would never purchase a Sharp VHS player from back when I sold audio/video. We had 3 models of Sharp units at one time, named Jaws 1, Jaws 2, and Jaws 3....they had an insatiable taste for tapes. :eek: It's an internal problem with my brain, but I have to live with it!! :D Oh, and I hadn't heard that about Sony. They are high on my list because of the great luck I've had with two previous Sony TVs. Some food for thought, though.
Bill, my A/V receiver up-converts to 1080. Do I need it? Probably not, but I want a 46" minimum and we will be sitting about 18' away from the screen.
Paul, all local vendors will get a shot at this. Frys pricing online seems way out of line on the few models I've looked up. But will even venture over there as part of the process. Oh and the new avatar is our new show pup. 14 weeks old now. Jadestar Stetson, aka Ryder. It was the breeders "S" litter and a western theme. He's a hoot! So much personality. We also kept our first Rescue out of about 180 that have come through our house in the last 10 years. He looks like a setter, but is solid black. Very laid back. Lets the pup grab him and inflict damage and never retaliates with same. They are best buds. I'll put a picture up sometime with the two of them. He's probably an Irish Setter/Gordon Setter mix. About 5 months old.
Steve, good to know how Best Buy handles customers.
Joe, very good information. One that I will follow. I used to sell speakers the same way. Listen to them and pick the ones that sound the best, because that's what you will listen to for years and years to come. My speakers are 34 years old, and I don't know what I'd do if something happened to them.
Ben, the power consumption of the Plasma is an issue. With the extra consumption comes higher temps as well. But is there enough difference in the viewing angle to warrant the difference? Looking at the different units will make that decision.
Thanks again for the info. Always looking for more too. Jim.

dennis thompson
04-12-2012, 2:30 PM
I have the Panasonic Viera & am very happy with it. You might want to look at Costco when I bought mine a few years ago they extended the manufacturers warranty (I think it's for two years).
Dennis

Larry Browning
04-12-2012, 2:47 PM
I somehow thought that LG was a rebranding of Curtis-Mathis. But after looking it up, I found out that they indeed did start out as Goldstar, and in 1998 were renamed LG and at the same time acquired Zenith. My suspicion is that the current LG TV's are Zenith based technology. Whatever that means:confused:

I went to NPR looking for that story on Sony and found that there was a new story today about them cutting 10,000 jobs!
Here is the link to the story http://www.npr.org/2012/04/12/150474910/losing-its-edge-sony-ceo-tries-to-turn-company-around
Listen to the story to get all the details. Things are not looking too good for Sony.

Van Huskey
04-12-2012, 3:32 PM
Although I like to talk about A/V more than bandsaws recomendations are pretty simple. Low ambient light room get plasma, high ambient light get LCD. For plasma shop Panasonic and for LCD get Samsung. We have Panny plasma panels in all the bedrooms and a Sammy LCD in the great room all of which have been excellent from day one.

Randal Stevenson
04-12-2012, 5:58 PM
I picked up a Sharp 32" (smaller home, don't want the tv sticking in front of the windows) lcd for my house. It was old stock and cheaper ($200 before tax), and to me the speakers sounded much better then the thinner led tv's. (didn't think I would find a deal on the home stereo as quick as I did) I don't watch the sporting stuff that they say you need the faster 120 hertz or better refresh rate for. I don't watch a lot of tv, as it is mostly a waste, but do want the ability to watch some concert or other dvd's, as well as the possibility to use it with a computer. My mom wanted a new tv after their old one died, and she didn't have the patience to wait for a bargain. (has to watch her programs) We went over all the options and how the plasma didn't have the hertz issue, but didn't look as good in a bright room (her room only has one small window and is huge room), so the price point verses features made plasma her choice (half price of the led's). The only thing that she doesn't like about it, all plasma's have, which is heat issues. (better have a/c in the house)

As to brands, etc. I am not going to give any recommendations, because one brand can have good models verses bad and appearances and sound quality are per tv. I also don't think that tv's are going to last as long as they used to, but that is just personal opinion.

Charlie Gummer
04-12-2012, 7:08 PM
We bought a 7000 series Samsung LED backlit LCD when my rear projection Sony gave up. We're thrilled with the build quality and picture quality is phenomenal. The built-in software / apps are quite nice. The only 'gripe' I have is that we bought right before the line included wifi connections built in to the sets; we have to have the TV hard-wired to our router. For us this isn't a problem as our cable modem and router are right next to the TV but your situation may differ.

Samsung uses a program called AllShare to allow streaming of content from computers/smartphones to the TV. Besides a somewhat clunky interface the program does what it's supposed to. We haven't had any issue streaming 720P HD video over a wireless G connection but 1080P definitely requires either a hard-wired connection or wireless N. We have a wireless N router but some of our computers only have G network cards.

Jim Becker
04-12-2012, 8:37 PM
I happen to like Sharp Aquos when it comes to flat screens...I have two and would buy another without regret.

Joe Pelonio
04-12-2012, 9:04 PM
Ben, the power consumption of the Plasma is an issue. With the extra consumption comes higher temps as well. But is there enough difference in the viewing angle to warrant the difference? Looking at the different units will make that decision.

That's something I tested after reading this. After the LED TV was on a couple of hours i felt with my hand all over and feel no heat whatsoever. Also, we can watch it from any angle and no difference in the picture. It also has settings for bright or dim light conditions in the room.

Greg Peterson
04-12-2012, 11:41 PM
I have a Mitsubishi 60" DLP. I am very happy with the picture quality. And as for cost, the DLP sets give you most screen for the buck.

Jim O'Dell
04-13-2012, 12:03 AM
But there is the depth problem with a DLP. I didn't state this, but I do want to wall mount the TV. I have a friend with a DLP and it was very nice. Jim.

Wil Limanen
04-13-2012, 11:13 AM
Another vote for the viera. Bought a 50" plasma almost 5 years ago. No complaints.

Wil

Ron Natalie
04-13-2012, 12:24 PM
One of my coworkers did the hillbilly (I mean, appalachian american) thing with his 60" DLP. He cut a hole in the wall so the back end was in the closet of the adjacent room.

Jim O'Dell
04-13-2012, 8:57 PM
Unfortunately, won't work with a brick wall!! I don't think.......Jim.

Kevin W Johnson
04-13-2012, 11:18 PM
We have a 4 yr old Sony 52", a 3yr old 26" Vizio, and a 1 1/2 yr old 42" Vizio, all of which are LCD. So far, so good. The two larger units came from Costco.

Jim O'Dell
04-15-2012, 8:10 PM
Just got back from doing the visual test at Best Buy and Sears. Neither had the Sony model I was looking at, but I had pretty much decided feature wise that the Samsung was what I would prefer as long as the picture was going to be equal. The lower model Sony did look very nice, but not better than the Samsung unit. LOML finally relented and said I could get the 55" unit and mentioned that it is less than the new show puppy she (we) just purchased. :eek:
(But he is really cute.;) 229746 )
So I just placed the order for it. Samsung UN55D7000 for 1549.00. I heard of a great deal on the 8000 model of the same size TV, but the poster never came back with where his friend purchased it from. It would have been 100.00 more, but would have had 2 of the 3D glasses as well as being an upgrade in features. But I loved the way this one looked in person, so I think I'll be a happy camper. Now to wait to see how long it takes to get it here. The free shipping said 10 to 14 days. Almost as good as getting the cabinet saw 2 years ago!!!! Thanks for your comments and insight. Jim.

edit: Forgot I put Ryder up as my new avatar.

Paul McGaha
04-15-2012, 8:18 PM
Congratulations Jim. I'm sure you're going to love it. It is really nice having a TV like that.

And yes, You're right, He is good looking boy.

PHM

Joel Goodman
04-15-2012, 9:38 PM
+1 on Panasonic plasma. If you like "black" blacks the plasma is better than most LCDs. Uses more juice though -- and is heavier to move as the screen is glass.

Greg Peterson
04-15-2012, 9:51 PM
After the fact, but germane none the less to a couple of posts. Sony recently sold their half of the manufacturing facility that produces their flat panels to Samsung. Samsung now owns the facility outright.

Samsung is pretty much the king of the flat panel now. Or more precisely, they are the king of flat panels, for now. I've read that they even produce the display for the latest iPad. You can take that with a grain of salt.

Larry Browning
04-15-2012, 11:58 PM
Yeah, it sure looks like Sony is a dying beast. I really hate to see that, but it is what it is.

Jim O'Dell
04-16-2012, 8:45 PM
Sony has also had some issues in the past year or so that had nothing to do with their TV line, but I'm sure hurt the company just the same. 3 weeks ago I would have said I would have ended up with a Sony flatscreen. And the one close to the one I was interested in their line up did have a very nice picture. I don't think the Samsung was worse though, and it has some better features. I've never cared for Sony stereos, though I did have an Sony indash unit in my van for a while. Immediately went back to Kenwood when it died. But I've had nothing but great luck with their TVs. Jim.

Kevin W Johnson
04-17-2012, 12:51 AM
I've had some (3) Sony indash units too, all are/where still working. I still have one of them, one I passed on to a relative, and one I sold. Had two Sony CRT tv's, a 27", and a 32", both were working when I finally popped on the 52" Sony we have in the living room, and the 42" Vizio for the den. I wait for ever to buy my first flat panel tv, and even then I wished I had waited, as LED backlighting started showing up shortly after that. But I guess we'd always be waiting for the next thing coming down the "pipe" if we continued to sit on the sideline and wait.

Sadly, problems can exist in single models, or manifest in nearly an entire line of products in a short period of time. What they make now may not be anything like what they made two years ago, or even last year for that matter.

Larry Frank
04-17-2012, 8:48 PM
I bought a 42" LED by LG and am very happy with it. The TV is in a relatively bright room and needed the LED to give me the brightness of the picture.

The one we bought did not have the electronics in it to connect to the internet so that you can get Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or any of those. We can do that with our Blu-ray player but it is one of the options. I think that having the ability to view one of these services is useful.

Jim O'Dell
05-09-2012, 11:59 PM
Just thought I'd update. I ended up having to change companies for the TV. First one didn't have it to send. Ended up paying a few dollars more, but a whole lot less than the new model of the same TV. Samsung is going the way of Apple and will control the prices the TVs can be sold for. It came in last Saturday. Perfect shape, works great, love the picture.231761This is a shot from my laptop hooked through the A/V receiver to the TV. Oh, and if you've wondered about the last line in my sig file....This is Pentatonix.;) Still working out some of the hookup issues with learning a new TV. Haven't watched a 3D movie yet, and I haven't used the SmartHub part of the TV on line or downloaded any of the apps yet, but we'll see. Next on the list is a Harmony remote so I can control everything from one remote. Thanks again for your thoughts and personal experience and likes. Jim.

Bruce Page
05-10-2012, 1:33 AM
Looks fantastic Jim! You'll love the Harmony remote too!

Larry Browning
05-10-2012, 9:25 AM
This is Pentatonix.;) Still working out some of the hookup issues with learning a new TV. Haven't watched a 3D movie yet, and I haven't used the SmartHub part of the TV on line or downloaded any of the apps yet, but we'll see. Next on the list is a Harmony remote so I can control everything from one remote. Thanks again for your thoughts and personal experience and likes. Jim.

Stupid me. I thought Pentatonix was the brand name of the TV you bought. Since I was not familiar with that brand, I googled it only to discover it was a singing group:o Which TV did you end up with? I did not find it in a quick review of the thread.
Also, I am not a fan of 3D. It just doesn't add anything to my viewing experience. In fact I think it is distracting at best, and research is showing that it is probably harmful to your eyesight. I go out of my to avoid it when going to the movies. One more thing, I have the Harmony One which is absolutely great! SWMBO thought I was crazy to spend $150 on a remote, but now says it's her favorite thing about the TV setup. One thing I did discover about the Harmony One though. We have hardwood floors in the LR and after being dropped, the screen developed lots of white and colored lines, enough to obstruct much of the viewing area. I looked into getting it repaired and found that it was not practicle. Parts are almost impossible to find and it would actually cost more to fix it than to get a new one. The touch screen still works, so we are still using it. Apparently this is a common problem with these remotes and there seems to be no preventive measures such as a protective case available. It is probably is not an issue if you have carpeting though.

Jim O'Dell
05-10-2012, 10:11 AM
Hi Larry, sorry for the confusion. I thought the reference to my sig line would explain the Pentatonix angle.
The TV is a Samsung D7000 series. I'm probably not a fan of 3D either, but we'll see. If a quality TV had been available with out the 3D capability, I would have gone that route. Jim.

Larry Browning
05-10-2012, 2:29 PM
Hi Larry, sorry for the confusion. I thought the reference to my sig line would explain the Pentatonix angle.
The TV is a Samsung D7000 series. I'm probably not a fan of 3D either, but we'll see. If a quality TV had been available with out the 3D capability, I would have gone that route. Jim.
No need to apologize, It's all on me.
I predict this 3D stuff is going to go the way it did in the 50s and just be a passing fad that never really catches on in a big way. I also think the movie studios are pushing it, in hopes they can find something to draw people into the theaters instead of staying home and watching their own home theaters.